When you think of our nation’s capital, images of clean, unscathed streets, Parliament buildings, and a safe city centre probably circle around in your head. Yet, tucked within the city there’s pockets of mischief, and the Ottawa born and bred boys of New Swears know this mischievousness all too well.
New Swears came to be in the simplest form: they saw each other at house shows, played music in the Ottawa scene and basically fumbled into one another downtown to form a band whose merit seems based on how many broken Old English bottles, upchuck and jams can be had at any given time. They’re guys who love to get drunk and do weird shit together, with music being the common ground.
Combining the full-on rock ruckus of Black Lips and the twanged-out dribble of Deer Tick, New Swears have created their own brand of debauchery, and you can’t help but buy what they’re selling. It’s trivial trying to justify their antics, and classifying their music is also a conundrum, but it’s safe to say it’s a solid slice of rock.
“We consider ourselves more like rock ‘n’ roll, but all of our albums have a little bit of everything,” says guitarist and vocalist Scru Bar. “We always have some sort of country-ish vibe on some songs, and then a heavier metal beat-y songs, but most of it is upbeat poppy rock, summertime feel good songs.”
While they might not look like typical country music fans, Scru Bar says they can “appreciate a good country song,” since “country music has a nice appeal to it.” Besides, New Swears aren’t really about the looks, unless it involves ditching soap for shades.
New Swears have been dubbed as a party band, one whose members look like different versions Terry and Deaner tossed with a hair metal flamboyance.
“I think we always go back to just trying to make things messy, and having a lot of fun with it all, that’s our natural state of mind to be honest,” says Scru Bar.
This is not to say that the band is one big joke; they hope to eventually quit their full time jobs and sustain a living solely on music.
“I have this vision, like most people get up and go to their jobs at 8 and leave at 5, and that’s cool, but what I want is us to have a room where we come in at 8, have some coffee and spend the entire day hanging out, making music, making videos, sipping tea, eating breakfast, taking lunch breaks—but making it all about creating fun music shit. That would be incredible.”
New Swears just want to stir havoc, make you laugh and create catchy music.
“We’re always pushing ourselves to make what we think is creative, it’s about what we like and enjoy so we push the boundaries, we just go with it.”
Ottawa has built a strong music community over the years, and thanks to festivals like Ottawa Explosion, this should continue.
“Everyone knows there’s a really strong community here musically,” says Scru Bar. “It might be tucked under the rug and stuff, but there’s a lot to offer in the city and those part of it—it’s the support you want.”
This support can be seen in their music videos, many of which have been shot around their now defunct home dubbed The Fun Boy Club House. Songs like “Midnight Lovers,” “Stay Gold,” and their most recent video, “Sugar Heavy Metal” remind us that the party is what you make it. Half-naked dudes dangling rugs, smashing guitars, and 7am shots is the world New Swears have created, and we’re cool with that.
Thanks guys, we’re 19 all over again.
So far the band has released two albums—Funny Isn’t Real (2013) and Junkfood, Forever, Bedtime, Whatever (2014). In October, New Swears released a 7”, the first offering through their newly inked deal with Dine Alone Records. A 2017 album is in the works and is expected come out in the spring.